- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
For Becky and Ed Edwards, there was nothing fast or easy about deciding to close their French Quarter art gallery and open a new gallery in Bay St. Louis. They considered adding a second location for a couple of years.
It ultimately made sense, since Ed was working and living on the Coast and Becky was traveling back and forth between their home and the gallery in New Orleans.
The couple have operated B.E.E. Galleries on Royal Street and Chartres Street for 25 years, so when the pandemic caused businesses in the city to board up, they decided it was time to close the French Quarter storefront for the time being. “We waited a few months and finally decided to make the move,” Becky said.
This Big Buzz
is sponsored by
Finding a place in the Bay to relocate the gallery was a real challenge. “There were never any available spaces,” Becky said. “I drove up and down every other day, trying to find a space.”
Finally a spot opened next to Bay Books on Main Street, and Becky jumped at the chance to take it. After some renovations and a fresh coat of paint on the walls, the Edwards had a sort of soft opening and were more than pleased with the response. “When a new business comes into a small town you never know how you will be received. The people who came in were just amazing. Everybody was so encouraging and very welcoming.”
Becky said visitors will find a “whimsical gallery” on Second Saturday. “Our art is different,” she said. “It is very international and also very collectible. While we have some traditional art, each of my artists has something whimsical that they bring to the table. It’s either the process of how they paint or just the subject matter itself. It’s fun and makes people feel good and happy. To me, that’s what art is about.”
Becky has represented the majority of the artists in the gallery for 15 to 25 years. “I like knowing the person who painted the piece and why he or she painted it. I have good relationships with all of them.”
While the Bay gallery is smaller than the Chartres Street space, Becky said it gives her the opportunity to do something she’s always wanted to try. “We have a small wall for guest artists, and it’s going to be our local artists.”
She said when they started moving into the Main Street space, word traveled fast in the local art community. “We had eight artists that contacted me and wanted to put their artwork in the gallery.”
It was hard to say no, because she knows how artists have relied on her gallery for their livelihood over the years. Doing the same for local artists is a way to return the warm welcome she and the gallery have received. “I think Bay St. Louis will allow that to continue,” she said.
A fine art Gallery
131 A Main St.
Bay St. Louis, MS
(new website for BSL Gallery next month)
Wed – Sat 10-5
Closed Monday and Tuesday